Ni vs. Ne: What Are They and Which Do You Use?

Ne vs. Ni: Which cognitive function do you use? This is one of the questions I get every day as an MBTI® practitioner! Intuition is one of the hardest functions to explain in words; some people describe it as a “sixth sense”. Unlike sensing, which is focused on the concrete and physical world that we can see, hear, smell, and taste, intuition is focused on unseen things; meanings, possibilities, and concepts. It’s a way of being able to know something without being able to explain exactly how you arrived at that point.

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What's the difference between Ne or Ni? Find out in today's in-depth article! #INFJ #INFP

Intuitives and sensors are going to have some pretty obvious differences, and to find out more about how to identify one, you can click here. But here’s the thing…

Everyone Uses Intuition

Sensing and Intuition

Even the ‘S’ personality types (ISFJ, ESTPs, etc,.) use intuition! Everyone has to use it to get by in life. Every function; thinking, feeling, sensing, intuition, is essential to leading a balanced life. People with a sensing preference just use sensing before they use intuition; so their intuition isn’t as advanced. Sensors will use intuition as their third or fourth preference, and it will be their least-preferred method of perceiving the world around them.

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What’s the Difference Between Ni vs Ne?

Ne, or Extraverted Intuition, is like a mental butterfly; it flits from idea to idea, making connections between seemingly unrelated things. Yet to the Ne user, it is all related; they find threads of connection between everything. Ne is broad and is inspired by the external world. NPs love exploring possibilities and potential and they are happy when they can talk about the ideas and possibilities they’re thinking about in real time. For instance, someone with dominant Ne might walk into a vintage shop and see a quirky lamp. Instead of just seeing it for what it is, they’ll imagine the lamp in a retro-themed play or as a prop in a photo shoot. They might look for symbolic meaning in the lamp or make up a funny story where the lamp is an integral character. This cognitive function revels in the ‘what could be’ rather than the ‘what is.’

On the flip side, Ni, or Introverted Intuition, is more like a deep-sea diver who plunges into the abyss of the subconscious to retrieve insightful pearls of wisdom. Ni is inspired by the inner world rather than the outer world. It’s an internal process and is easier to tap into when one is in a quiet, unhurried space. Ni is focused on understanding underlying meanings and future implications. Someone with dominant Ni might meet a new person and, rather than focusing on small talk, they’ll likely quickly develop a hunch or prediction about that person’s character or future based on subtle cues. Unlike Ne’s broad and varied radar, Ni is like a laser beam that seeks to pierce through the surface and understand the core essence of things.

Keep reading to find out more about the differences between these two functions!

Personality Types with Extraverted Intuition

Myers-Briggs Types With Dominant Extraverted Intuition:

Myers-Briggs Types with Auxiliary Extraverted Intuition:

The types above are going to be the most skilled at using extraverted intuition (or Ne for short), with ENFPs and ENTPs having the highest mastery of this function.

Myers-Briggs Types with Tertiary Extraverted Intuition:

Myers-Briggs Types with Inferior Extraverted Intuition:

The four types listed above are going to rely on sensing before they access extraverted intuition; however, they will still prefer Extraverted Intuition to Introverted Intuition, which they will hardly use at all.

What is Extraverted Intuition (Ne)?

Ne vs Ni infographic

Extraverted intuition (Ne) is the ability to see possibilities, potential, and hidden patterns everywhere. Where Extraverted Sensing (Se) focuses on taking in information through the five senses and acting on it, Extraverted Intuition is about taking in information that is largely theoretical. Concepts, thoughts, ideas are the focus of Extraverted Intuitives.  This is why, usually, extraverted sensors are skilled at spotting details, working with their hands, or grasping anything that involves the physical world. They are also good at seeing in-the-moment opportunities and getting involved in them. Extraverted intuitive types are skilled at coming up with ideas, concepts, and possibilities. They look at their surroundings and see numerous connections and possibilities that they want to explore. Ne-users are the Dr. Seusse’s, the Oscar Wilde’s, and the Walt Disney’s of the world.

Ne-users (NP personality types) are always looking to the future to see what could be. They love the world of limitless possibilities and keep their minds open to constant growth and improvement. They tend to be very creative people, which is why the world of artists, musicians, and writers is full of Ne users. They desire new and novel experiences and often become restless if left in a routine, unchanging place in life.

Ne users are often groundbreaking entrepreneurs and visionaries; they have a desire to make things happen and make their mark on the world. They get a rush of excitement when they’re able to pursue their dreams and plans, and their naturally charismatic personalities make it easy for them to find others to join them.

Another trait of Ne users is their ability to make obscure connections between seemingly unrelated things. The Ne user can see two very different topics and bring them together in a way that can be surprising to many, and often gives the Ne user an off-beat sense of humor.

Ne users are slow to finalize decisions and form judgments; they like to keep their options open and their minds open so that they can constantly be evolving their thought processes. For this reason, they are often very open-minded, accepting people who aren’t quick to impose their judgments on other people.

The minds of Ne users often move at a frenetic pace. They often seem restless, absorbed in thoughts, and enthusiastic about sharing those thoughts. They want life to be exciting and full of fun and discovery; and oftentimes find sleep to be a boring waste of time. For this reason, they can have erratic sleep patterns or suffer from insomnia. They want to constantly be taking in new information and don’t like to shut off their minds. Trying to sleep with a Ne user can be frustrating for a sensor because the intuitive will constantly be bringing up new ideas when the sensor is more likely to be winding down for sleep.

People with auxiliary extraverted intuition (INTPs and INFPs) will probably relate to most of the things above, but their experience may not be as extreme. They will channel the intuition first through either Introverted thinking (Ti) or Introverted Feeling (Fi). This can make them seem a little quieter or focused than ENFPs or ENTPs, who use Ne as their dominant function.

Personality Types with Introverted Intuition (Ni)

MBTI Types with Dominant Introverted Intuition:

MBTI Types with Auxiliary Introverted Intuition:

The types above will be the most skilled Ni (introverted intuition) users; with INFJs and INTJs having the highest mastery of this function.

MBTI Types with Tertiary Introverted Intuition:

MBTI Types with Inferior Introverted Intuition:

The four types above are going to prefer sensing before intuition, but will still try to use it from time to time.

Understanding Introverted Intuition

What is Introverted Intuition? Discover the five signs of Ni in this infographic! #MBTI #Personality #IntrovertedIntuition

Introverted intuition is similar to extraverted intuition; except that it is more of an internal process, and it is more inspired by the unknown and unconscious. Ne users generate unlimited possibilities that they put into the outside world, leaping from one idea to the next. Ni users are much more internally focused, diving deep into one concept or idea that is teasing their mind. They keep more of their insights to themselves until they are fully fleshed out. They may let their minds wander from idea to idea, but they usually won’t share their ideas until they’ve come to a sense of “knowing” or “divining” that ideas purpose. They crave a sense of certainty about how viable their idea is. Introverted intuitives are more focused on predicting than generating possibilities.

Where the Ne-user enjoys brainstorming numerous ideas, jumping from one to the other, the Ni-user is more likely to focus in-depth on one and feel flustered if they have to jump around from one to another rapidly.

Ni-users love the world of ideas and visions, and often think in images, symbols, and metaphors. They notice patterns easily, and are excellent strategists, often coming up with a “master plan” or forecast of the future. They are the Nikola Tesla’s, Stephen Hawking’s (INTJs), Leo Tolstoy’s, and the C.S. Lewis’s (INFJs).

Ni users are more concerned with the big picture than any other type. They are the most abstract and forward-looking of any of the types, and they have very little patience for the here and now. For this reason, they are very frustrated when having to deal with monotonous, day-to-day tasks and may have to work harder at being fully present.

Ni users (NJ personality types) often have strong gut feelings that are hard to explain verbally. Their visions or predictions often appear out of the blue and they may have a hard time pinning down how they have come to their conclusions. It usually takes time and solitude thought for them to discern how one thing led to another.

Ni users need to zone out of the world around them o n a regular basis. They are highly sensitive to the external sensory world and are easily over-stimulated. They like to delve deep into the recesses of their mind and analyze all the information they’ve picked up in order to create a trail or pathway that leads to one main idea or insight.  They are very reflective and need a lot of quiet and alone time to process their thoughts.

The thinking Ni types will come across as very blunt and sarcastic. They like narrowing down their options and finding the most logical path forward. The feeling Ni types have a more accommodating communication style; still often sarcastic, but often at their own expense. They will feel other people’s emotions and be much more heavily affected by them. They also enjoy narrowing down their options and finding a strategy that will accommodate people.

Strengths and Weaknesses of Ni vs Ne:

Ne Users – Strengths:

– Open-minded
– Curious
– Creative
– Energetic and enthusiastic
– Good at communicating
– Charismatic
– Excellent brainstormers
– Original
– Flexible
– Visionary
– Charming

Ne Users – Weaknesses:

– Unfocused
– Can struggle with practical skills
– Can overthink and obsess over things
– Sometimes independent to a fault
– Prone to procrastination
– Turbulent emotionally (more with the feeling types)
– Can look down on other, more practical types and see them as “narrow-minded”
– Can struggle with following through or completing projects.

Ni Users – Strengths:

– Creative
– Insightful
– Inspiring
– Passionate and determined
– Strategic
– Imaginative
– Independent
– Dedicated
– Original
– Conceptual

Ni Users – Weaknesses:

– Overly analytical
– Perfectionistic
– Loathe structure
– Highly sensitive (more common with feeling types)
– Overly sarcastic
– Can be overly-judgmental
– Extremely private
– Easily burn out
– Prone to over-indulgence when stressed
– Gets lost in foreseeing, ignoring the needs of the “here and now”

What Are Your Thoughts?

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any thoughts or experiences to share? Let us know in the comments!

Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type,  The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic,  The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer, and The INTJ – Understanding the Strategist. You can also connect with me via FacebookInstagram, or Twitter!

What are your thoughts?

Do you use extraverted or introverted intuition? Can you relate? Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

10 Signs That You Might Be an Extraverted Intuitive

10 Signs That You Might Be an Introverted Intuitive

A Beginner’s Guide to Identifying Someone’s Myers-Briggs® Personality Type

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  1. I feel like predominant Ni users don’t particularly “loathe” structure in the sense that most of the abstract thinking made through this function is usually based around the idea of a movement of ebb and flow between different layers of information. In other words, multiple sub-structures clashing with their counterparts in an attempt to refine themselves and produce the ideal one. Everything is but an endless collapsing and renewing in their mind; all to really say that structure there is, but malleable by nature shall they also be.

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